The story so far...
Formed in 2016, the Clan of Celts is a group of established musicians who are passionate about music. A fusion of rock with traditional Celtic elements, the Clan of Celts, is an eclectic gem with a unique original sound. Praised for their amazing energetic live performances, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable musical experience. The Clan of Celts plays with passion and pride. This is Celtic rock at its very best!
Founding member, Denis Dowling, set up the Clan of Celts after spending some years playing in cover bands. Denis became disillusioned by this and wanted to write his own breed of traditional music in all formats. When the Clan of Celts formed, Denis was playing in a band called the Evil Puppies, along with Billy Mac, Alistair McCaig and Gary Brown, who also joined the Clan of Celts.
They set about writing some new songs. They needed a banjo player, so they asked Jim Filgate. They also needed a fiddle player to enable them to achieve their unique sound, so they bought in Padraig O Reilly.
In April 2016, the band released their first single, “Please Don’t Send Me Home”. They shot the video in The Golden Lion pub in Camden Town. Denis’s father appeared in the video, where he’s seen smashing a bottle (not a real one, of course!) over his son’s head. Sadly, 3 months after they shot the video, Denis’ father passed away. The clip in the video is very special to Denis, a personal memory of his “hero”.
During the making of the album, Bill was suffering from health problems, but continued with the band as lead vocalist.
Beggars, Celts, and Madmen, which would also be the title of their debut album, they released it in June 2017. The music video would be Denis’s directing debut. Filmed in one of London’s oldest surviving churches, they set the story of the video around the Irish Great Famine of 1847. It has a dark atmospheric style to it, that takes you back to days of the Universal horror movies of the 1930s. Denis’ daughter, Emily, also appears at the end of the video.
Clan of Celts release their third single, Dream Catcher, in January 2018. The video, which is filmed, directed, and edited by Frankie McLaughlin of the Rumjacks, and dedicated to Denis’ late father. They shot the video at the Golden Lion pub and around Camden and East Finchley Cemetery.
Soon after this, Bill made the tough decision to leave the band because of his ongoing health issues. A talented vocalist and good friend, they feel void of his departure to this day.
On St Patricks’ Day, they release their long awaited debut album, Beggars, Celts and Madmen. It is a critically acclaimed success, receiving fantastic reviews worldwide. The album featured on lots of playlists and podcasts on Celtic platforms. In Australia, America and Brazil, they voted it album of the year. The video for Please Don’t Send Me Home has a quarter of a million views on YouTube alone. They released more tracks from the album to raving reviews.
The Clan of Celts’ success has pushed through the boundaries of the UK, with the band now having a following of loyal fans worldwide.
January 2019, promoters ask them to support Flogging Molly in France. Unfortunately, the gig ended up being cancelled. A few months later, they played the Triskell Festival in Trieste, Italy. The band needed a drummer and fiddle player quickly. So, they bought in Collie Towey as drummer and Nicholas Long as fiddle player.
Triskell Festival was an outdoor Celtic festival which saw Clan of Celts fans travel from all across Europe to see them perform. Next, they played the Paddy Wagon Festival in Leipzig, Germany.
After Germany, the band took a break. It was during this time that the band changed direction, going from a Celtic Punk band to more Celtic Rock. They set about writing some new songs. They bought in a session fiddle player to record the new tracks.
Tim joined the band as a keyboard player. A phenomenal player, he was the element that helped rekindle the spark that the band so desperately needed.
Denis asked Nicky if he wanted to come into the band. He was the perfect choice for the new line-up, being a quality drummer in all styles. Luckily, Nicky jumped at the chance.
During lockdown, the Clan of Celts recorded Clontarf Dew and Dream Catcher Gael Force from their own separate “bubbles”. Ben Gunnery stepped in to play fiddle and low whistle on the lockdown sessions. As of October 2021, the band is waiting for covid restrictions to relax in Ireland so that they can get the clan back together to write as a unit. When it happens, it will be the first time they have been together to write and record for three years. Their upcoming album is due for release in 2022.
There have since been a few obstacles and changes along the way. Now the Clan of Celts are back and entering an exciting phase with fresh material and a brand new line-up ready for 2022.